In a town like Tamarindo that is known as one of the best spots for surfing in Costa Rica, there is an abundance of hotels, tours, and surf camps. When planning a trip, where do you even begin? There are so many factors that go into picking the experience that is right for you and it can sometimes get a little tricky to know what to choose when you are miles away looking at all of the different options on your computer. But don’t worry! We have compiled a little guide that will hopefully aid you in sifting through the many choices to steer you toward your ultimate Tamarindo surf camp!
The last thing you want to do is spend 12,000 hours traveling and be absolutely drained by the time you even arrive at your surf camp. This isn’t fun, and it will mean that you will not be at your best and probably won’t get as much out of your experience in Tamarindo. That is why choosing a surf camp that is easily accessible is a very important factor! As far as getting to Costa Rica goes, there are two main airports: San José and Liberia. You might recognize San José as the capital city, and it is located in the middle of the country. While the flights here are sometimes a bit cheaper, it is not always worth it because it is at least about four hours to get to either coast from here. So in order to surf in Tamarindo, you would need to catch a bus or a shuttle after your long flight to get to the coast where all the surf camps are. Flying into Liberia is a great option because this airport is located just about an hour north of Tamarindo, so getting to where you need to be is a lot faster. And if you book a surf camp with Iguana Surf, your transportation both to and from the airport is included and all taken care of which is a huge weight off your shoulders.
One of our drivers will be waiting for you when you arrive so no matter how tired you might be, you will be in good hands and taken right to the front door of the hotel so you can rest up and be ready for your surfing! There are tons of airlines with direct flights to Liberia from popular US cities, with more and more being added all the time. And if not direct, coming from almost anywhere you can find a flight that is affordable and with just one stopover. Who knew it was so easy to get to paradise?! You’ll be wanting to fly down once a month 😉
Location is key when it comes to choosing a Tamarindo surf camp. You will want to be close to the beach so that surfing is easily accessible and you can spend as much time in the water as possible, rather than doing a lot of walking! You will also want to be in the middle of town and close to all the action. Tamarindo is small and very walkable, so it is easy to get to the beach, restaurants, bars, and shops. But it does make a difference if you are located on one end of town or the other and some locations are more convenient than others. Tamarindo basically has two main streets: one that runs parallel to the beach, and one that forks off and heads up a little hill. For proximity to the surf and ease, it is best to be situated on the main road parallel to the beach. Iguana Surf is perfectly situated right across the street from the main beach break where all the surfing happens. It is also a very short walk to all the most popular spots for eating and going out! It doesn’t get easier than that!
Where you will be staying is another big factor in picking your surf camp. You want to be comfortable so that you can be well-rested for your days of surfing and activities. There are many different surf camps in town and all of them have a variety of room options. Most have been around for a while so the rooms, while having everything you will need, are modest and a bit dated. The Iguana Surf Beach Hotel was renovated in the last two years, so everything is new and up to date. The boutique-style rooms are clean and bright, and the AC is strong! Daily housekeeping ensures that you have everything you need and keeps the rooms fresh. There are also different options depending on the size of the group you are traveling with. Coming to learn how to surf solo? Perfect! The dorm-style hostel room is very conducive to meeting new friends from all over the world. Traveling with a friend or significant other? The deluxe private suites are ideal for two people. Bringing the whole damn family? Great! The deluxe family suite has room for everyone. Iguana Surf definitely has the highest quality surf camp accommodation for the price you will pay. If you are traveling on a tight budget, there are definitely rooms at other places that are a bit cheaper, but you get what you pay for here.
WHAT IS INCLUDED:
It is pretty obvious that if you sign up for a surf camp, you will have daily surf lessons and likely board rentals included in whatever price you are paying. But what else should you look for as far as what else is included? To get the most bang for your buck, you will want to look at camps that include other perks besides just surfing to enrich your experience. When you pay for a surf camp at Iguana Surf, that means you automatically get daily surf lessons with a private instructor, unlimited board rentals whenever you want, an Iguana Surf rash guard to use and take home with you, photos and videos, daily breakfast at the restaurant out on the balcony of the hotel, accommodation, transportation to and from the airport, and a surf trip to a nearby break to expand your skills and show you a little bit more of the area around Tamarindo. Yes, that’s a lot of stuff!! And this is how it should be.
However, not all Tamarindo surf camps include all of these extras in their price. So when you are doing your research, really look closely to see what you are paying for! It really makes a difference to have things like breakfast and airport transportation included and taken care of. While these are certain things you could organize yourself to potentially cut costs, just make sure you are being very careful to set everything up correctly! Having photos and videos done is not only a super fun souvenir to take home and show off on Instagram, but also really helpful to look at so you can see what you look like when you surf and make some changes to improve your technique based on what you see. Our instructors use the videos as an analysis tool to talk you through where you could improve and little things you could change to make your surfing stronger! Overall, the basic surf camp includes a ton of perks that you might not even realize you need but will be extremely happy to have once you are in Tamarindo.
There are also add-ons if you want to make your experience even richer! Add on Spanish lessons to improve your language skills and learn to speak like the locals, combine your surfing with some yoga and meditation to truly relax, or add in some epic adventure tours to expand your experience with a little more adrenaline. The options and combinations are truly endless so you can perfectly personalize your experience!
QUALITY OF INSTRUCTION AND KINDNESS OF STAFF:
Nothing can ruin a trip like a grumpy instructor or a crew that isn’t attentive and kind. You are paying money for your experience, so it should be top-notch! You will want to book a surf camp somewhere where everyone is friendly and helpful and where you feel like you fit right in as part of the family. I think that is exactly what you will find at Iguana Surf. The only complaint that we usually get is that we make it too hard to leave! You will be welcomed with open arms from the moment that you arrive and be taken care of during your entire stay. Your instructor and fellow surf campers will hopefully become great friends that you can continue to stay in touch with even after you leave! Many of our clients have come back year after year because it is simply that much fun. But don’t take my word for it – come and experience it for yourself! We can’t wait to welcome you to the Iguana Surf Family!